Film and TV

Hollywood Is Resurrecting Ernest P. Worrell: Knowhutimean?

Jim Varney's Ernest P. Worrell was one of the best and weirdest parts of growing up in the late '80s and early '90s. From commercials, films and TV shows, Varney's grinning idiot was ubiquitous, whether he was going to camp, going to jail, joining the Army, riding again, being scared stupid, going to Africa or miraculously saving Christmas.

Now comes word that the character is being rebooted for new audiences, and for people of my generation who can't take originality. Of any character that I remember from my youth, there is no one that deserves a new image less than Ernest.

According to the producers behind the new films, the plots will be built around Worrell's long-lost son, which means that at one time, Ernest had sex. Ernest put his penis in a woman's fertile birthing canal and ejaculated and they made a child.

Why didn't that ever make one of the movies?

If it was me, I would rather the Worrell character just be resurrected with a new actor, instead of the whole messy "son" scenario. How did Worrell die? Was it some harebrained accident with electricity or fire? Questions that I need answered...

A reboot would be great, though. In the right hands.

Think of the possibilities, with the perfect amount of money, talent and balls.

Who could ever retain the same spirit that Varney brought to the table? Who can fill that jean vest ably? Michael Fassbender? Is Ryan Gosling too hot to be Ernest P. Worrell's son?

Who replaces Chuck and Bobby, played by veteran actors Gailard Sartain and Bill Byrge? I say Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Sedaris. Problem? Sorry, no Kevin James and Rob Schneider for me.

Think of the anger and folksiness that Hoffman could attack the role of Chuck with, that sweaty good ol' boy.

What new adventures could the new Ernest undertake? Ernest Goes to Detroit? Ernest Goes to Burning Man? Ernest Saves Kwanzaa? Ernest Makes Meth?

And there it is.

Bryan Cranston should play the new Ernest, with the same sad mania that he brought to Hal on Malcolm in the Middle, and the ingenuity of Walter White's Heisenberg alter ego on Breaking Bad.

I'm only half-joking about all of this.


If you forgot how awesome Ernest Goes to Camp was, here is the film in full on YouTube for your workday pleasure. I totally forgot Iron Eyes Cody was in this.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty